Pinkerton Sweeps D1 Titles!
Results Courtesy of LancerTiming
Athlete Interviews Beneath Article
By Nate Leveille
The Division 1 Indoor Track and Field Championships were held at Dartmouth College on a snowy Superbowl Sunday. The state championship meet is always an exciting time for teams as well as individuals that look to qualify for the New England Championships as an individual or on a relay. As a coach, it’s a meet where we get to find out how freshman will handle the pressures of competing in a big meet and which individuals will step up. The meet certainly didn’t disappoint on many levels.
The girls team championship was never really in doubt. Pinkerton Academy of Derry was the preseason favorite and remained the favorite heading into the D1 meet last night. They used a very balanced attack to score in nearly every event and ran away with a convincing victory with a team total of 86 points, 27 points ahead of the runner-up. Brittany Johnson ran a leg on the winning 4×800 team, finished second in the 1000m, 3rd in the 1500m, and ran a leg on the winnings 4×400 team, meaning she participated in 34 of the 86 points Pinkerton scored. That’s not an easy quad for a distance runner. Pinkerton also got important 2nd place performances from Amelia Graves in the 300m and Emily Lesburt in the High jump. Make no mistake, this was a team victory and their depth of experienced, quality athletes led them to the title. This was the first team title for the Pinkerton girls since 1981!!! Congratulations.
The battle for second place lasted until the last 5 meters of the last race on the track, and included the team that I coach. The 4th seeded Exeter girls 4×200 was able to hold off a charging Nashua South team to finish second in the 4×200 and secure runner-up in the meet with a school record team total of 59 points, 34 more than last year. I began coaching at Exeter last year knowing there was the potential for this girls team to contend this year or at least get in the conversation. The team was led yesterday by All-American distance star Jackie Gaughan, who swept the two long distance events with wins in the 3000m, in a new state record time of 9:34.70, and doubled back with the win in the 1500m in a time of 4:40.40 accounting for 20 big team points. First year indoor track athlete Ellie Johnston displayed her toughness and talent finishing 2nd in the 55 Hurdles and Dash (She was the 11th seed), ran anchor for the fourth place 4×400 team as well as the 4×200 relay team which held off Sydney Lewis of South to secure second. Ellie played a role in 28 of Exeter’s points. Exeter used huge individual performances from Gaughan and Johnston as well as strong performances in all three relays to score their points and bring home only the second indoor track plaque in schools history.
Third place finisher Nashua South exceeded their expected point total based on seeds scoring 55 points. They suffered a huge blow to their team hopes with star sprinter Crismeily Borg being out due to injury, but the South girls stepped up in a big way led by junior all-state performer Sydney Lewis. Lewis won the high jump, finished second in the long jump, 3rd in the hurdles, and ran anchor on the 4×200 relay team, which placed 3rd. She participated in 30 of the 55 points South scored. South also got a big lift from freshman distance runner Cali Coffin, who finished second in both the 3000m and 1500m behind Gaughan. Look for Nashua South to challenge for the team title outdoors!
Individual Girl Performances:
Sarah Williams of Dover didn’t disappoint winning the Shot with a throw of 36’11.25. In the 1000m, Katelyn Pepin of Manchester Central used a late charge to beat Brittany Johnson to the line for a winning time of 3:09.70. Grace Devanny of Concord won the 300m in a blazing time of 41.88 just ahead of last years champ.
Dominique Milinazzo of Alvirne was the one seed in the 600m for the entire season until Caroline Fischer of BG passed her in the last meet of the season. Fittingly, the two of them battled to the line in the 600m with Milinazzo getting the win with a time of 1:40.26.
On the boy’s side, the team race seemed to be close heading into the meet, but Pinkerton Academy stepped up when they needed to and ran away with a team score of 90.33 points, 22 ahead of second place. Pinkerton rode the back of quad winner Jadyn Ruimwijk. Ruimwijk took the 55m dash, 300m, opening leg of the 4×400 and anchored the 4×200. He was involved in 40 of the teams 90 points. Pinkerton also got 14 huge points in the shot lead by champ Keleal Cerafici. Pinkerton does their damage by utilizing their depth. The Astros were the only team to score in every single event on the track and in the field. Their well balanced attack is why they are the champs and always in the conversation.
Nashua North claimed runner-up honors holding off a talented Bedford team. Nashua North headed into the 4×200 with a 6.33 cushion, but Bedford gave them all they could handle finishing two spots ahead of them, still not enough. North did everything they could to get themselves in the conversation. They had gigantic performances from distance runners David Vorbach and Max Ireland. The duo finished 1-2 in both the 3000m and 1500m! North performed well in many events and had solid relay performances.
Bedford finished third behind incredible sprinting performances. The Bulldogs finished 2-3-4 in the 55m Dash scoring an incredible 18 points. They were led by sophomore star Zach Verow ,who finished 3rd in the Dash and 3rd in the 300m. Lucien Mumpini may not have been the top seed, but he took down the long jump with a distance of 20’11.75 (that’s a huge jump off of a runway surface with no board). Bedford also got 10 winning points from Aidan Kenny, who ran away with the 600m in a blazing time of 1:23.36.
Individual Boy Performances:
The 3000m was one of the fastest in recent history with 4 boys going under 9 minutes. As mentioned Vorbach and Ireland went 1-2. They were followed by Forest Mckenzie of Concord and Joe Gagnon of Pinkerton. Billy Powers of Winnacunnet did all he could for his team winning the 55 Hurdles in a new D1 record of 7.42 seconds, as well as the high jump with a leap of 6’2”. He also finished second in the 300 meter in 36.19, and ran a leg on the 4×400, which finished 3rd. Concord’s Matt O’Brien won the 1k title (2:41.32) in one of the more exciting races of the day.
The 4×400 meters was arguably the most exciting race of the meet. Pinkerton Academy handed the baton off, with a 10 meter lead, to last year’s 600m champ Noah Woodman. Exeter sophomore Dante Radagona ate up the lead and the two ran the last 180 meters shoulder to shoulder before Woodman held on to the win by .07 seconds in a time of 3:34.63
In one of the more upsetting parts of the D1 meet, top seed Dalton Mutz of Concord false started in the 55m dash and top seeded Jake Winslow of Exeter false started in the 1500 meter run. With both athletes being disqualified and unable to compete at New Englands, it may be time for the indoor committee to try to find a way to host an all-state meet to determine New England qualifiers. This would also provide individuals with the ability to sacrifice individual performances for their team and not have their New England seeding suffer because of it.
Look forward to seeing you all at New Englands, New Balance Nationals, and in the spring.